Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Sic Alps – L. Mansion

Those veterans of numerous albums and singles Sic Alps are back, with their first single as a trio. A side L. Mansion is a rickety, echoey thing that might have come out of Joe Meek’s studio, if he had carried on and did some producing of eighties indie pop. There are also echoes of The Jam’s vitriol, if somewhat subsided and sixties mod flavoured. On the flip, you get Donovan cover Superlungs, which is a shonky piece of weedy garage rock.

L. Mansion is out now on Slumberland Records

Sic Alps website is here

Brown Recluse – The Soft Skin

Brown Recluse is another delight brought to us by Slumberland Records. Lead track Rotten Tangerines is quite wonderful. It’s woozy, languid, loose limbed dream pop. Something like The Flaming Lips partying with The Thrills on a sun soaked Californian beach. Some brass heralds the Beach Boys updating Night Train, a piece of sumptuous sublime pop. Rainy Saturday is a flimsy piece of Belle and Sebastian, while Contour and Context is a gorgeous piece of twinkling twilight joyousness and a fitting way to complete the EP.

The Soft Skin is out now on Slumberland Records

Brown Recluse myspace is here

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

BriBry Is Sky High – Swings

BriBry Is Sky High is one Brian O'Reilly from Dublin. He’s a swinging acoustic troubadour, swaying like a little Bright Eyes. This is the impression you get from lead track Mira at least. One Thing To Do Before You Die is a haunting thing, very little backing whatsoever to start with, before some guitar slides gently in. It sounds dead sad, especially with Brian’s soft, emotional vocal styling. Black Magic shakes out the demons in a mannered freak out and finally A Poem I’ll Sing Out Loud is a delightfully delicate ditty to conclude the EP, like a musical box bard.

Swings is out now.
Go to the BriBry Is Sky High myspace here for details on how to get the EP

Emiliana Torrini – Me And Armini (Remixes)

Emiliana Torrini issues the title track of her current album as a single, featuring various remixes. Mr Dan’s Magic Typewriter Remix is a bouncy but uneven joyride, jiggling along to an icy funk beat. Emiliana’s vocals waft over the top, as gorgeous and sweet as ever. If you like Bjork and fancy something a little less harsh and a bit more sumptuous you really want to try her compatriot Torrini. The Simone Lombardi Remix is pretty similar, merely substituting the backbeat for a reggae one.

Me And Armini (Remixes) is out now on Rough Trade
Emiliana Torrini myspace is here

Tender Trap – Fireworks

With the indie pop renaissance well under way, its perfect time for Amelia Fletcher to return with Tender Trap and reclaim her crown. However Fireworks is a little sluggish melodically, even though Amelia’s cutesy charm shines through as ever. It’s an understated comeback that’s for sure, not one of her ultra catchy tunes of yore. Same can be said for the other track, the one that despite hunting high and low on sleeve, CD and press release, I have no title for.

Fireworks is out now on Fortuna Pop!
Tender Trap myspace is here

Anton Barbeau – Plastic Guitar

By now you know what you’re getting with Anton Barbeau, that being some sort of spin on the psychedelic folk he’s been peddling for years. Plastic Guitar is his 13th album, recorded in Oxford, Cambridge and Sacramento.

Bending Like A Spoon is reminiscent of The Flaming Lips laid back pyschedelia, while the title track slots into a motorik groove. Dear Miss is the stoned hippy one, and a touch too lackadaisical. Boat Called Home is a lovely melancholic thing, the aural equivalent of a mist over a lake, sung by a dewy eyed singer. Raino Disco is the fantastic centrepiece of the album, eight minutes of spacey spectral psych. Finally Banana Song is a bit Lennon still sneering, look at me. So there we have it, another Anton Barbeau album, one that will please his fans for sure.

Plastic Guitar is out now on Pink Hedgehog

Anton Barbeau's myspace is here

Saturday, 10 October 2009

The Hillfields – It’ll Never Be The Same Again

This debut album from the South London three piece is full of decent indie pop, the kind of which is ten a penny nowadays. The singer has a rather rich and delightful voice, and you can’t help but feel its being under utilised to front a band such as this. There’s nothing terribly bad on this album, but also nothing I felt I could pick out to bring to your attention as an example of the album’s highlights. Something for those who maybe feel too challenged by what they feel is the abrasive nature of harmless old indie pop.

It’ll Never Be The Same Again is out now on Underused Records
The Hillfields myspace is here

Katsen – It Hertz!

After eight years together as Katsen, Donna Grimaldi and Chris Blackburn finally issue their debut album. Lead track Let’s Build A City is screwball electro, all strange and desperate male/female vocals and squealing eighties TV programme synths. In fact it sounds very much like a demo for some synthtastic computer game crossover from the eighties. Chequered Flag is a girl doing a robotic dance rather badly to Chuckie Egg. It kinda works though. Cactus raises the bar higher, minimal frozen girl electro pop at its best. Island In An Island plugs a hoover and a Gameboy through the synth and conjures up a rather disorientating little squiggle. The album dips a bit in the middle, as repetition sets in and ideas run out. The German Film Star cover and instrumental title track rescue things a bit and the last thing of note is Constellation, where they are a budget Kraftwerk. Half a good album, but a darn good half.

Let's Build A City is available as a free download from the label site and It Hertz! is out now on Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation

Katsen myspace is here

The Kiara Elles – Odio EP

A change of name from the Chiara L’s for the Leeds five piece is marked with a new EP. Odio sounds like a Japanese Altered Images tribute band, thrusting and endearingly cutesy. It bobs and weaves in a delightful way, one which only the stoniest of hearts wouldn’t love. Night Terrors gets itself lost in a futuristic landscape, full of glitter balls and strange androids. Imagine the Long Blondes overrun by enthusiastic kids, stropping their way along after a Haribo overdose. Supergroupie and Rust are further proof that nothing is better than high octane girl vocalled indie pop, and wrap up a rather fine EP.

Odio EP is released by Vandal on October 12th
The Kiara Elles myspace is here